Local United Methodist Church changes name to support LGBTQ community

Local News

Gay marriages and gay ordained pastors are not allowed in the United Methodist Church.  

Inside the Gates Fourth United Methodist Church, stain glass windows and pews bring a feeling of peace and serenity, but for some, it symbolizes rejection since church delegates voted to maintain bans on same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBT clergy.

The pastor of the church, Grayson Atha, says all are welcome to his church.

“I was disappointed. And at first, I thought do I want to continue to be a Methodist,” Atha.

He said after 60 years of being apart of the church he just couldn’t leave. 

Instead, he changed the sign outside from Gates Fourth United Methodist Church to just Gates Fourth Church.

“It seems to me with all of the publicity that we would be Gates Fourth for a while and not say, ‘Oh that’s one of the churches that dislikes gay people,” Atha said.

88-year-old Elton Wilson has been with his partner for more than 50 years.

He knows what it’s like to feel like you don’t belong.

“I’ve been through it. Sometimes where you just aren’t welcome. It always nice to know you are,” Atha.

Pastor Grayson married him and his husband three years ago at this church.

Pastor Grayson says the United Methodist Church bans gay marriage and it can not happen in the church.

But he is going to do what he feels is the right thing to do.

He said he will continue to have gay marriages at his church.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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